Palestinian PM vows crack down on outlaws

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RAMALLAH, West Bank, Nov 11 (Reuters) Palestinian Prime Minister Salem Fayyad today vowed to hunt down outlaws in the restive West Bank city of Nablus as part of a Western-backed push to revive peacemaking with Israel.

Fayyad, appointed by President Mahmoud Abbas after rival Hamas Islamists seized control of the Gaza Strip in June, said security forces had made arrests in the city, a frequent flashpoint between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants.

''We have begun arresting symbols of chaos, known to the people of Nablus, and the arrests will continue until we get the last one of them,'' Fayyad told reporters in Ramallah.

Abbas dismissed a Hamas-led government after the Islamist group took over Gaza in a brief civil war and appointed the Western-educated Fayyad to lead an administration in the Israeli occupied West Bank where his Fatah party remains dominant.

Since the start of the month, hundreds of Palestinian security officers have deployed in Nablus in what is planned as the first stage of a campaign to improve law and order ahead of a U.S-sponsored peace conference with Israel.

Israel has said it will not implement any peace deals until Palestinians meet their commitments to crack down on militants.

Last week Israel approved the deployment of more than 300 members of the Palestinian National Security Forces in Nablus to provide a major boost to its weak police force.

''This is the new concept of security in order to impose the rule of law. It was not a coincidence that we started the deployment of security forces in Nablus, we started with Nablus because it is the most difficult,'' Fayyad said.

The Palestinian leader said frequent raids by Israeli troops into the city have weakened his efforts to impose law and order.

Israel has said if the deployment of Palestinian forces in Nablus proves successful it could be expanded to other West Bank towns.

A report assessing the first 120 days of Fayyad's administration, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, said the government has started ''collecting illegal arms and dissolving militias''.

Reuters SBA VP0308

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